A 35-year-old Indian national, who tried to extort half-a-million dollars from Standard Chartered Bank, was charged in court on October 2nd. The Indian, Nagarajan Balajee, faces a jail term of between two and five years and caning under a charge of “attempting to commit extortion.”
Balajee allegedly committed the offence on the morning of Sept 27 at Standard Chartered office in Changi Business Park. He threatened to publish defamatory libel about StanChart’s employees (among them is the bank’s global head of digital banking and retail, Aalishaan Zaid) unless the employees gave him $500,000 as ransom. The bank made a police report on the day of the incident.
Balajee was arrested on September 30 along Kovan Road. Police said several laptops and mobile phones were seized from him in connection with the case. Balajee is alleged to have used multiple fictitious e-mail accounts to deliver the threats to the bank anonymously.
Police investigations showed that he might have used overseas registered mobile lines and virtual private network (VPN) services to mask his identity and to evade detection.
Balajee is the Head of Management & Financial Reporting – Digital Banking at Standard Chartered Bank. One of the employees Balajee tried to extort money from, Zaidi, is from Karachi, Pakistan.
Zaidi is currently based in Singapore and is responsible for Digital Banking covering end-to-end digital customer experience, self serve and staff assisted channels, and digital commerce in Standard Chartered.
Balajee is currently out on SGD 20,000 bail and will be back in court on October 30.